Oct 2, 2009

Save A Treasure


Yesterday I had an amazing experience, following the footsteps of Andrew Kleiner, I decided to research the WPA items at the Lehigh Valley Historical Society; like Andrew, I found that particular documentation lacking. But, from out of nowhere, an elderly lady handed me a photo from her pocketbook; a picture of the Boat Landing she had taken with a Kodak Brownie camera in the early 1940's. She had the picture with her because she had shown it to several friends who also lamented the loss of our icons.












Today I went to the park to photograph the remaining element of that structure, the steps, to write a post I intended to title "Lost Treasures". Despite my fear of ticks and other organic matter, I proceeded down the steps and pushed the bushes aside. There to my surprise, I found that the retaining walls were mostly still there.

Emboldened by this discovery, I went over to the other side of the creek and worked my way through the riparian buffer; there to my utter amazement I saw that the curved creek walls of the landing have withstood the years of time. Despite decades of neglect by our Park Department, I believe that a half dozen people equipped with a few clippers could unveil a lost treasure. There is a few large trees which have grown on the landing, and there are missing stones, but most of it still exists, waiting only for a few urban archaeologists with an appreciation of what once adorned this park. Will you join me in this act of civil unvandalizing and help restore this gift from our past?

26 comments:

Anonymous said...

wanna do a spring clean up? With the weather turning cooler and the time to organize this, it might take that long. I'm game. I love doing a couple of days worth of projects. Let's get a team of 20 brave people together, get dirty and have some fun.

Geoff
gsbrace@hotmail.com

michael molovinsky said...

geoff, at the bottom of the steps i could see that the retaining wall holding up the bank was still good for at least several yards in both directions. also from across the creek i could see that the creek wall was also good. if we could clean off the steps and ten feet of the landing it would be good start for the project. assuming i get some more positive replies, perhaps i'll set next saturday in pencil for a suggested time. about 15 ft. from the bottom of the steps, on the landing is a tree about 14 inches in diameter. at least part of this structure can be saved, but time is of the essence. once the saplings turn into tree's they damage the structural integrity of the construction.

Anonymous said...

Michael, Geoff,
Count me in. Michael call me. We have so many treasures here in our beautiful Allentown that need to be protected, restored and brought back.
Paul Fiske (The Old Allentown Curmudgeon)

Chris Casey said...

Count me in, if it is saturday AM on the 10th

Anonymous said...

michael, what you are doing here is really great. Are ou getting support from the Parks Dept. or the Parks Friends group? They clain they are looking for partners and voleenters. I would like to help you with this as long as phoney material like the crap used in the Rose Garden is not part of the plan. Has the City showed you the complete invntory and locations of all the WPA sites?

michael molovinsky said...

casey, having seen you work at fairview cemetery, i hear-by declare the project shall take place on saturday oct. 10th at 10:00am. , appreciate your help

anon 8:49, no, this has nothing to do with the city or "friends of the Parks". this is citizens trying to reclaim our heritage. no materials will be used. we'll clear off the steps and the landing at their base, and expand out left and right as long as the landing is structurally safe, i don't want to create a hazard. it's been covered with dirt, saplings, bush, trees, for years. maybe we'll only be able to clear a couple of yards of landing, but at least people will know it's there.

Anonymous said...

Where is this located?

michael molovinsky said...

it's located at the end of the park near regency tower apartments; actually it might have been the beginning of the park at one time, but that's a story for another post. there is a small parking lot there.

Anonymous said...

Bill White of the MC could have for once in his life made a positive contribution to his adopted city of Allentown, by investigating and reporting on how the Parks were neglected at the highest levels. He should have done this years ago. But no, his juvenile reporting was too busy with Musikfest eating, X-mas lights, and other assorted drivel. But hen again, as one of those who have moved to Allentown from other places (New Jersey, in his case), he feels no sense of obligation, or even a hunger for knowledge that is associated with Allentown's history and heritage from the first 3/4 of the 20th century (its golden era). It is just a place for White to 'take from', and enjoy its higher quality of life (compared to New Jersey). Take, take, take... with no giving back. The motto of Bill White's 'Me Generation' of yuppies and Baby-boomers.

Anon.

michael molovinsky said...

anon (10:40), i do assign blame to the city (park department) for "discarding" the boat landing (my name for the structure), but not bill white. at any rate, the objective of this post is to encourage enough people to help so that at least part of this structure can be uncovered in a few hours.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Molovinsky,
Where is this? We can't figure out the location. What a find!
Absolutely, with 20 volunteers on an Oct. Saturday, it could be repaired. This is very exciting.
As for the lady with the photo, almost mystical.

Anonymous said...

I'm game too. Sat are best.
We could find a few small trucks with volunteer drivers to haul stuff away and some of those
cute John Deere golf-like wagons with motors.

Anonymous said...

Is this by Union Terrace?

Anonymous said...

I could do the 10th too. Folks need to wear long sleeves and long pants and socks because of ticks galore.

Anonymous said...

Oh, Mr. Molovinsky,
At this point, it doesn't do any good to cite anyone with neglect. Now is time to redo, rejoice that you discovered it.
There are so many issues if only we could have a second-chance. We learn as life goes by.

Anonymous said...

Dear 8:49.
Doubt there is such an inventory. Too many park directors ago.

Anonymous said...

In fairness to Mr. White. In the paper business, he does what his editor tells him to do, or he's out the door. We can all watch Jimmy Stewart, club reporter, but in real paper life, editors are in charge. You do it their way or it's the highway. And where would Mr. White get hired if he lost this job?

michael molovinsky said...

as for location. 1. if you park in robin hood and walk on the trail toward the kilns or regency towers, it's at the end of the path. 2. if you drive over the stone hump bridge at martin luther drive, instead of bearing left toward regency tower, go straight over concrete bridge. park on other side of bridge, " boat landing" right there.

no one need worry about hauling anything away, but here's the wish list of tools.
1. hedge shears and lopers
2. shovels to clear dirt off landing stones
3. punning saws and chain saw
4. wheel barrel and plank for steps, few buckets if no wheel barrel

dick nepon said...

The City has no drawings I am aware of, of this 'landing'. I scanned all the vault maps in the past year and a half. There are some interesting drawings of WPA projects(and some less than interesting). There is even a tremendous set of drawings of a part of Fountain Park that never got built between 15th St and Jefferson north of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Anonymous said...

Michael,
Maybe you or your readers know what's going on with that proposed luxury condo complex that received zoning approval to build adjacent to Regency Towers.
Last year an old house on the property was demolished, but the land has been empty about 10 years now.

Anonymous said...

I'll be there 10 am next SAT.

no one need worry about hauling anything away, but here's the wish list of tools.
1. hedge shears and lopers
2. shovels to clear dirt off landing stones
3. punning saws and chain saw
4. wheel barrel and plank for steps, few buckets if no wheel barrel

October 3, 2009 1:04 PM

Chris Casey said...

Mike, you know I own every tool available. I am bringing all on your list and several pairs worth, along with the heavy artillery I use regularly at Fairview. GRRRR!!!

As Tim the Toolman used to say.....


MORE POWER!

The Village Idoti said...

Ah shucks! I can't make it. I love this kind of work and good fellowship. We have diaconate ordinations that weekend in D.C.

If you can't finish the project in a total of one weekend, please post the calling of volunteers again. I always look for a reason to come back home.

It would also be a great reason to finally meet all of you in person.

I offer you my prayers for a safe, fruitful, and weather cooperating event.

Peace, ~~Alex

Anonymous said...

guys, feel bad in saying this b/c I kind of started the conversation in this direction, but my saturday's in October are tied up with work, weddings and two church obligations. Can I help by providing money for supplies, tools or anything else?

geoff

michael molovinsky said...

geoff, no problem, i appreciate your conceptual support.

Anonymous said...

MM -

I hope that you will be inviting the local press (WFMZ, the Morning Call) to cover the clean up.

I think a little publicity on this (particularly on the local newscast) would capture a lot of people's imagination. Widespread public support is needed to get the structures the care that they need.